Come Blow Your Own Horn: Hornfest 2016

As a French Horn player with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Laurie Matiation knows how to play well with others.

81509_orig“Most are a lone horn players,” she cites, speaking of instrumentalists in student band
programs, “they don’t get a lot of experience in small ensembles.” This is one of the reason that Hornfest began. “Some CPO colleagues tossed around the idea,” she explains, “It’s a way to help the horn players focus on their part and a compliment to the great work being done in schools.”

Hornfest 2016 is happening on March 5th & 6th at MRU. Specialized instructors and clinicians will be working with any student who is passionate about learning how to play the French Horn regardless of expertise. “We’re laid back.” Matiation admits, “We’re not there to judge or be critical.”

Matiation is clearly excited. The energy she brings to her instruction and the passion she has with the music is infectious. She delights in the fact that Hornfest 2016 basically has an in-house arranger in Doug Umana, one of the instructors. “Doug arranged the theme from the movie Rocky,” she gushes. What’s up for this year’s program is anyone’s guess.

The variety in the music played throughout the weekend makes every horn player step up to the plate. From movie music to, “accessible classical music,” Matiation knows that everyone leaves with a deeper appreciation of musical styles and improved horn technique.FRENCH-HORN_2682972k

“At the end,” she reports, “we all have a mass horn choir.” The mini-concert on the Sunday afternoon showcases the music they’ve been rehearsing all weekend, played to a captive audience.

For these often ‘lone’ horn players, it’s an experience. “Some are a little overwhelmed and their jaws drop,” Matiation explains when they first hear the sound, “others get excited.”

For early bird registration, click on before Feb. 8th.


-by JLove (a.k.a. Little Boy Blue)





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